Review Summary: No monster trucks, only monster riffs! Grim Reaper's classic See You in Hell represents the very best of the "2nd" British invasion.
NWOBHM. Bless you. For those too young to remember or too lazy to go research stands for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. In the mid to late 70's the original "heavy metal" acts were declining and punk music's influence was spreading through the rock scene. Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Sabbath had already been around for years at this point. That's when a crop of hybrid bands started gaining national attention. Stripping away the muddied southern rock and blues influence these bands blended the metal chops (and skill) with all of the swagger of the best punk bands. Maiden, (later) Priest and Motor Head are all bands in this vein. Everyone knows those three through. If you are a fan of any of those bands you owe it to yourself to seek out the Grim Reaper!
Dropped in July of 1984 See You in Hell has every single classic aspect a fan of metal can ask for. From the bad assed album cover to the music therein everything is picture perfect. If you have never given them a chance this is the best place to start. We of course, cannot discuss the music of Grim Reaper without giving due credit to Steve Grimmet. The bands somewhat stout front man has a set of pipes that would make the devil take notice. He shines through this whole release. His voice is certainly distinct and man can he hit those high notes with passion. Take Paul Dianno's punk vigor and pair it with Bruce Dickinson's octave range and you can get a feel for Grimmet's abilities. The lyrics may be laughably bad in some points, but they are blasted out of your speakers with the force of a sonic boom. To back up that vocal excellence are the riffs of one Nick Bowcott. Another un-sung hero of the NWOBHM sect he lays down what I consider to be the best work of Grim Reapers career here. Geoff Curtis (bass) and Mark Simon (drums) round out the quartet to great effect. This being recorded in 85 the bass is as missing as you would expect. The drumming is great and bordering on excellent at points. The entire album possesses that basement/garage band metal feel that too many bands try to develop artificially now.
One of the main down points of this release are the lyrics, which are abysmal in places. The songs however are the type that will stick in ones head for years and years and years. The title track is the strongest here, and I will wager that you will be humming the opening stanza for days on end. See You in Hell is a short trip back to the 80's, eight tracks lasting a mere 33 minutes. The weakest (and most damning for this album) cut is the awful 'The Show Must Go On'. A weak, lame attempt at a ballad. Even Grimmet's excellent voice cannot save that one. Still, one track does not a release kill. The title song at least needs to be heard, and I beseech you all to check it out. I'll see you in hell my friends.....